Forgotten equity: The promise and subsequent dismantling of education finance reform in New York State

Drew Atchison


This study examines the impact of court-ordered finance reform in New York State resulting from Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York on equity of inputs using synthetic controls. The findings herein indicate court mandated education finance reform in New York had little to no impact on equity of educational inputs despite an overhauled education finance system intending to distribute more state funding based on student need. In the period during and following the Great Recession, the State of New York chose to cut districts’ foundation aid, a form of aid designed to be distributed progressively, halting any improvement in equity. Had funding been distributed to districts according to the foundation formula that was specified by the education finance reform legislation passed in 2007, high poverty districts would have received more funding and disparities in funding across districts with similar characteristics would have been reduced. I also show that other forms of aid, which are regressively distributed, could have been cut instead of foundation aid, allowing for more funding to flow to high poverty districts in a time of fiscal constraint.


equity; adequacy; education finance; finance reform

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Copyright (c) 2019 Drew Atchison


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